ASUS Zenfone 3 Max Hands-on, First Impressions: Max Battery, Max Style

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 08
Along with the Zenfone 3 Laser, we managed to score hands-on time with ASUS’ Zenfone 3 Max. Just like its recently announced brother, the Zenfone 3 Max has gotten a major overhaul in terms of design and the internals that power it. The big-batteried phone now sports a full metal body instead of a faux leather setup, and has picked up a couple of new tricks along the way.

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max specs

  • 1.5GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6737T processor
  • Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.2-inch HD IPS display, 2.5D glass, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 32GB of expandable storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0, ZenUI 3.0
  • 4100mAh battery
 ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 07

Initial impressions: Big battery, slim phone

If there’s one constant with phones that have big batteries, is that they tend to be a little chunky compared to normal phones. That’s not the case with the Zenfone 3 Max, and while we don’t have its exact physical dimensions, it’s only a hair thicker than the Zenfone 3 Laser that was announced with it.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 09
And just like the Zenfone 3 Laser, the Zenfone 3 Max sports ASUS’ brand new, more premium metal design language. The body is primarily made out of metal save for the two plastic strips on the top and bottom for the antenna. In truth you’d be hard pressed to figure out which one is which when placed beside the Zenfone 3 Laser, but there are a few differences that clue you in. For one thing, the Zenfone 3 Max does not have a laser AF unit, and its fingerprint scanner is square, compared to the rectangular one on the Zenfone 3 Laser. Its 13-megapixel camera sits flush with the body, which isn’t the case with the Zenfone 3 Laser. The Zenfone 3 Max also uses on-screen Android navigation keys, which is quite different from the physical ones on the Zenfone 3 Laser.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 04
Aside from that, the phone looks very similar – it has the same curved body that makes gripping the phone easier with one hand, the same button placement for the power button and volume rocker (which are both on the right side) and same placement of the SIM tray that resides on the left side. The display is a little smaller, at 5.2-inches, and has a lower resolution as well, at just HD instead of full HD. The upside is that the Zenfone 3 Max still has that beautiful 2.5D Arc glass layered on top just like its slightly nicer brother.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 02
ASUS has reduced the legendary battery of the Zenfone 3 Max to just 4100mAh from 5000mAh in the original phone. That’s a bit of a bummer, though on the upside is that the phone still retains the ability to charge other devices via an OTG adapter.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 05
Powering the device is MediaTek’s new MT6737T that’s clocked at around 1.5GHz, paired with a Mali-T720 MP2 GPU, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. It’s our first time to encounter this new SoC, so we’re not familiar yet with its full performance characteristics and more importantly, its power draw – something that’s very important in a phone that’s advertised to go the distance.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 06
While ASUS has not announced pricing as of the moment, we’re expecting them to price the Zenfone 3 Max aggressively. Their CEO Jerry Shen has earlier said that their main revenue driver for phones would be the Zenfone 3 Max and the Zenfone 3 Laser. To do that, they’d have to beat the offerings of not only international rivals but local ones as well. ASUS has earlier promised that the phones would bear a sub 10K price tag. If that’s true, we can see both phones flying off the shelves once they’re made available here,

5 comments

  1. Avatar

    if they were able to make a big-battery phone with almost the same dimensions as the laser, then why release the laser? could’ve popped in the laser AF module, and called it the “laser max”.

    conversely, why did they reduce the max’s battery capacity to make it almost as thin as a “normal battery capacity” phone, when they already have a “normal battery capacity” phone in their lineup? (the laser)

  2. Avatar

    The hybrid sim slot in these metal unibody phones (all brands) is a deal breaker for me. I prefer to have the two sims and microSD AT THE SAME TIME.

    Is there any metal unibody phone out there that has dual sim and a separate microSD slot?

  3. Avatar

    Placement of the speaker on the Max is a deal breaker for me, absolutellllly!

  4. Avatar

    I must say, the camera is really getting to me. While it is okay in well lit areas, it fails in low-lighted places. Photos taken in the latter circumstances appear blurred and a permanent beautification filter seems to be applied even when it’s set to HDR. I had the unit I bought a few days ago returned to have it checked. There were also instances that the phone informed me that another app is using the camera and it cannot be launched, advising me to restart my device. Which i did to no avail.

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